Three Score and a Day Ago


Three Score and a Day Ago my parents were married.  Ten years ago, on their 50th wedding anniversary, it snowed, quite alot.

Five years ago, I managed to get home to celebrate with them.  Dad, even though he still had some physical challenges from his first stroke, marked the day by enjoying one of his most favourite things in the world.  Along with his youngest daughter he burned the grass along the edges of the farm in preparation for the greening of spring.

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Today is Friday, typically a day off.  I putter on Fridays, the only thing I schedule is walking the dog, which I do every morning, and cook dinner.  The rest is puttering, laundry, dishes, quilting.  I catch up on the programs recorded on the DVR, usually it is The Big Bang Theory.  I’m feeling a little blue, the anniversary of my parent’s nuptials heightens how much I miss my dad who died September five years ago.  This was Chuck Lorre’s reflection #589.

Recently I was scrolling through the contacts list in my cell phone, when I came across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had died.  This was a very nice person, someone I enjoyed spending time with.  There was no real reason we didn’t become closer friends.  Just the usual excuses, busy lives, and tossed-off promises of lunches and dinners that would never come to pass.  Anyway, here was all this person’s contact information – email, phone numbers, etc.  Was I supposed to delete it?  I couldn’t think of a reason not to, but pressing the delete button seemed disrespectful, almost irreverent.  To die is one thing, to be deleted is quite another.  Instead, I took a deep breath and called the number.  It went to voicemail (thank God).  I then left a rambling message about how I wished we’d gotten to know each other better, and that I was sorry I didn’t follow up on one of our many threatened lunch dates.  It was a silly thing to do, but when I hung up I felt a small bit of closure.  The my phone rang.  I looked down and saw his name in the caller ID.  I froze.  The room started to spin.  My heart was pounding in my ears.  I took a deep breath, forced myself to press the accept button and put the phone to my ear.  It was his son.  He was confused as to why I’d called his late father.  I promised to explain it over lunch.  Date, TBD.

I have contacts in my phone like that.  Both of my very best friends from seminary.  I can’t bring myself to delete them.  Both deceased, one from cancer, the other a fall (?).  Coincidentally, it is (was) the latter’s birthday today.  My heart is breaking with love displaced to a realm beyond my knowing.

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Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

Springtime Traditions


DSC_0967Treasured childhood memories for spring is the burning of grass around the edges of the fields and out buildings.  It was an event that we looked forward to with high anticipation.  Dad taught us all the ‘safety’ procedures for burning – starting a line of fire downwind, carrying a shovel, waiting until the wind died down and knowing there would be a heavy dew that night.  We would put on our oldest spring jackets, our Ukrainian ballet slippersindex and out we headed with dad in the lead.  He would start the fire and we would pull up hanks of long grass, twist it, touch it to the fire and then drag it long the edges of the fields to extend the burn line.  If the fire got too close to buildings or ran the risk of escaping, we would stomp out the fire.  That was much more exciting than using our shovels.  Just after dark we would return to the house, covered in soot and smelling of smoke, circles of fire on fields of black imprinted in our vision.  It was great.

April 26th was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary.  Dad is 18 years older than my mom, and turned 91 this last December.  He had a minor stroke a year ago and has slowed down quite a bit.  My sister got the burning permit for spring refuse.  After dinner she walked the saluki and made the comment that the wind had died down and she was going to burn the ridge along the old garden.  I haven’t seen my father move that fast in over a year!  He was in his glory.  Ribs for dinner and grass burning after, the perfect anniversary.

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